I just finished reading The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. I had high hopes for this book & I will come right out and say I was disappointed. However, it does make me want to take up knitting. hehe
Before I begin, I've glanced at other blogger's book reviews and noticed how a lot of them start off by giving a synopsis of the book, and then the blogger gives their thoughts. I tend to only read reviews about books AFTER I've read the book, so I'm going to skip the synopsis piece. Sorry for those who were hoping for the traditional book review! With that said, there will most likely be "spoilers" ahead.
So moving on… I expected this book to be more focused on the Knitting Club itself instead of the life of the shop owner, Georgia. I had envisioned a more "Sex in the City" plotline, where there would be a handful of main characters and each one would tell their own story, with all this great drama happening during Club hours (obviously I did no research of my own before reading it). While there were a handful of Knitting Club members, their lives were not the focus of the book. Sure, their lives were mentioned with some mini-drama: a grad student who cheated on her med-school hubby, a wanna-be lawyer, a wanna-be purse seller, and a wanna-be momma. I had simply hoped for more drama.
Still, I want to try to focus on the good of the book, despite my lack of excitement regarding the story. I enjoyed how after so many chapters there would be a page on knitting techniques. In the end I came to realize, at least to me, that these section dividers told a story more deeply than just knitting how-to's – they actually seemed to reveal life lessons camouflaged by the practice of knitting. I was also thrilled whenever Georgia was able to get back with her daughter's father, James. Really, who doesn't like to see the trials and tribulations of love result in a happily-ever-after? No? Well, I am actually a romantic at heart, so I do! However, this wasn't entirely a happily-ever-after type story. Obviously a woman is going to have some resistance with allowing a man back into her life who once exited so quickly and easily out of selfishness. Perhaps one reason for my lack of love toward Knitting was that I didn't actually love the main character. I just had a hard time getting in to her story and situation. I liked that she was from PA, and I liked her story with her ex-best friend-turned best friend, Cat. For those who've ever had some rocky friendships, and I'm sure you've had, don't you just wish they'd all end up like this? Still, Georgia seemed very uptight and stressed out, which is no surprise given her lifestyle as a sole-proprietor. She just didn't reel me in like I like to be reeled in by a main character! I felt like a 20lb bass swimming around in the Potomac just waiting to be caught, and the fisherman didn't use the bait I liked (that analogy is for Joel!). Now, I loved Anita, Georgia's mentor and pseudo-mom, and I loved James, the ex. I really had a little yearning in me when I would read their stories. I was pulling for James – I knew he deeply regretted leaving Georgia and was willing to do whatever it took to make it up to her. I was also pulling for Anita and Marty, the deli/building owner, to get together and have their own little happily-ever-after.
I must admit that I never anticipated a death in this story, not for one second. I figured after Georgia got cancer, it would somehow work itself into the ending of the story in a different way than the way it did! And while I actually liked the twist that the story took when Georgia died, only a few more pages later and the book was over! "Just when it was really gettin' good…!" So, would I recommend this book to others? Eh. BUT, I do plan to read the sequel, Knit Two, just because I always have to read sequels, and also because I'm not giving up hope for Kate! I'm holding out faith that her second novel will be much more worthwhile.
P.S. Did anyone make Dakota's muffins or Darwin's sweater (the recipe was in the back in case you didn't notice)? I definitely plan to make those muffins, and I'd like to try to knit soon (it was on my list of New Year's Resolutions), so I think I'll start with that one!
Next up is The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl! Happy reading!